They were punished for being right
Two men of note lost their jobs as military commanders after they correctly predicted that the Japanese would attack Pearl Harbor, which happened on that "day of infamy," December 7, 1941.
One of them was Army general Billy Mitchell, after whose name the Mitchell Bomber (B-25) would later be named. Far less famous, but equally prescient, was Navy admiral James Otto Richardson.
Billy Mitchell predicted, as early as 1925, that Pearl Harbor would be a target of a Japanese strike.
General Mitchell was not only an outstanding military officer, but also a statesman. Ruffling the feathers of powerful men, he aggressively advocated for the development of air power as a means of national defense. In the modern era, the principles for which he fought are seen in retrospect to be obvious and correct, but in the years leading up to World War 2, they were controversial. Moreover, when he predicted that air force bombers would sink battleships in a general war, the U.S. naval officers who commanded battleships strongly disagreed with that prediction. Just one look at their leviathan monsters, with their nine massive guns and twenty-mile reach, was impressive enough to convince many politicians that they could not be sunk by mere airplanes. Of course, war would later prove them wrong.
Admiral Richardson was one of many people who, like Billy Mitchell in the 1920s and '30s, predicted that war with Japan was a strong likelihood, but Richardson had specific recommendations that were overruled.
Significant preparations were, in fact, being made for the eventuality of war with Japan. Richardson, however, got into trouble with his advice. When plans were made to transfer the Pacific naval fleet from the West Coast to Pearl Harbor, Richardson struggled mightily against the idea. He argued that doing so would simply make the Navy more vulnerable to a Japanese attack. His resolute belief in his prediction caused him, as with Mitchell, to argue forcefully and relentlessly in meetings with the highest levels of government, including face to face with President Franklin Roosevelt, commander in chief of the armed forces, who had been assistant Navy secretary under President Wilson.
Ironically, the transfer of the Pacific home port from the West Coast to Hawaii, and therefore closer to Japan, was intended to intimidate the Japanese militarists and to dissuade them from attacking. The move was a diplomatic signal to the Japanese conveying the message that the U.S. could the more easily attack Japanese forces if that nation attacked (as predicted) the Philippines, which at that time was a United States protected territory. Richardson, with his experience in Japanese affairs, recognized that the leaders of the Rising Sun could not be intimidated but would instead strike.
Both Mitchell and Richardson suffered as a result of their courage to speak truth to power. Mitchell was court-martialed for insubordination and left the Army. Richardson was relieved of his command at Pearl Harbor and was administratively demoted for a time from four stars to two. Richardson's replacement was Admiral Husband Kimmel, who was in command of Pearl Harbor when the Japanese did, in fact, bomb it, effectively erasing the American battleship fleet in the Pacific in one day. Kimmel was blamed, and then was removed from command himself, although, to be fair, there was plenty of blame to have been passed around, including to those who brought about Kimmel's firing.
As history tells us, the ensuing war raged until 1945, when Japan became the final Axis Power to surrender. Returning to peacetime, the United States analyzed the mistakes that had been made and set forth to remedy them. How much progress was accomplished?
Today, we face threats from Russia and China that are as obvious as were the threats posed by the Axis powers in the 1930s — threats that produced the most destructive war the world had ever seen. This time, however, the destruction will likely be even worse, unless a new generation of statesmen step forward into the fray: courageous, patriotic men who will not be deterred, no matter the political forces arrayed against them.
Where are they? The leaders we have instead are the likes of Democrat Rep. Eric Swalwell, who conducted a sexual affair with a female Chinese spy while having access to vital American military secrets. His security clearance has not been revoked, and he continues to hold a position on the Intelligence Committee.
Joe Biden occupies the White House and is involving us in the war between Ukraine and Russia, after having financial connections to Ukraine, including through his son, Hunter, who has also had connections to communist China.
General Mark Milley is our highest-ranking military officer. During the White House tenure of President Trump, Milley actually assured the Chinese military forces that he would protect them from the president of the United States if a military confrontation occurred.
The next Pearl Harbor is all but inevitable. That is because dictators, after consuming the wealth of their own nations, always invade their neighbors, just as Russia has invaded Ukraine, and as China is poised to conquer Taiwan. In response, the United States has always produced competent, patriotic statesmen to lead our defense against them — indeed, to counter-attack and defeat those who would conquer us. Are there any such men now, when we need them perhaps more than ever? Have they the courage to challenge the dark state?
If so, then where are they?
Image via Wikimedia Commons, public domain.